Coalition Building: Solomon Islands Opposition Parties Unite in Bid for Government

In a bid to form a government following an election that produced no clear winner, the two major opposition parties in the Solomon Islands have joined forces in a coalition deal. Last week’s election marked the first since former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s administration struck a security pact with China in 2022, a move that drew attention from China, the U.S., and neighbouring Australia due to its potential impact on regional security.

With Sogavare’s OUR party securing 15 of the 50 parliamentary seats, and the opposition CARE coalition close behind with 13 seats, the race to form a government hinges on courting independents and micro parties to reach the 26-seat threshold.

On Saturday, the CARE coalition, consisting of Matthew Wales’ Solomon Islands Democratic Party, U4C, and former Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela’s Democratic Alliance Party, sealed a coalition agreement with the second-largest opposition party, Peter Kenilorea Jr’s United party, amassing a combined total of 20 seats.

However, the coalition has yet to decide on a candidate for prime minister from among its party leaders. Reflecting on their shared mission, the coalition emphasized their commitment to addressing the aspirations of the Solomon Islands people and restoring confidence in the country’s leadership.

Meanwhile, Sogavare’s OUR party remains confident, citing support from two micro parties and expressing intentions to court independent candidates. As the nation awaits the outcome of negotiations and coalition-building efforts, the future direction of the Solomon Islands government hangs in the balance, with regional and global stakeholders closely observing developments.